Paul here from the UK, new member asking for advice.
I did have a beginners 20 inch unicycle a few years ago, which I broke. Thinking of getting a new one for Christmas to use for learning to ride, general riding, maybe commuting when I can stay on it. Both road and off road.
Would you guys recommend nimbus or quax ? 19 or 24 inch wheel ?
Generally I always recommend a 19" or 20" for anyone who doesn’t yet have a unicycle because it’s best for learning basic or advanced skills (For wheel walking, I have heard a 24 is better, but don’t worry about that right now). Qu-ax unis seem to be excellent and reasonably priced, but, as I live in the US, I have not had much chance to ride them. The unicycles I usually ride are mostly made of Nimbus parts, and they are excellent.
For off-road riding and/or commuting, you’d want at least a 24, probably something larger, but I would recommend looking into that later on.
If you want to travel anywhere, get at least a 26", probably a 29", but as pointed out something in the 20-24" range is more suited for skills and tricks in a small area. So probably the first thing it do is decide where and what sort of riding you want to do. What is most available to you? Square lots or indoor spaces? Linear cycle paths? If you will be getting this in winter, take the locations that will be available then into consideration too.
I’m yet to try a 36er, but the mid size wheels require no particular skill - I’d only been riding a few weeks when I got my 26er, and apart from finding its height intimidating for the first three days, it generally feels easier to ride than the 20" I started with (I quickly came to wish I had gotten a 29" instead).
Watch your local used market too. Can you repair your 20"? Ultimately you’ll probably end up with multiple unicycles…
Thanks guys. Ideally I am after a single bike that will do me for learning, bit of muni and some commuting. The idea of multiple unicycles would probably result in divorce papers from the missus, so care is needed there - she has agreed to buy me the unicycle for christmas, so I need an alrounder in one fell swoop. Thanks for the comments favouring the larger wheels.
Oh yeah - got lots of space, cycle paths, live on the side of a mountain etc.
If the missus is willing to buy you a uni and it’s going to be your only one for a while I would try dropping hints that she wants to get you either a 24 or 26" uni. I wouldn’t go any bigger than that if you can’t already ride unless you are quite confident in yourself.
If you are serious about riding off road and want the uni to last for a while you are looking at £200+ for a unicycle with splined (ISIS) hub and cranks to insure durability.
You can go significantly more expensive than £200 ($300) but that is pretty much the starting point for the “good” unicycles. Cheaper ones will work just fine, and mostly won’t break but having quality gear tends to be cheaper in the long run and gives a sense of confidence that things won’t fall apart if dropped the wrong way.
Get a 19 or 20" and good luck learning…get used to the fact that you will need/want other sizes…later a 26" would be fine for short commutes and is great off road…so that’s two unis…and…and…
Tell the missus that in the long run unicycling will be cheaper and healthier than the pub!
I learned unicycling on a 26" (i.e. it’s possible) uni and it took years before I ever tried 20". I think you can skip the 24" unless you are one of those REALLY HUGE TYRE guys or want to do extremely technical muni. I’ve been commuting on a 26" uni for years and it’s a popular muni size, I think a 26" muni is the choice that covers most of your requirements.
I also got a KH20 and a 20" indoor freestyle uni, switching to 20" later on wasn’t a problem. Switching back and forth between 26" and 20" was weird at first and used to take some transition time, now I don’t even notice it. So you can always go down in size later on.
Until 3 hours ago I’d never ridden anything bigger than 26". I needed 4 attempts to mount my new KH36 and about 30 minutes of adjusting the saddle, the t-bar and the pedals (150 mm was too much, 127 mm feels much more comfortable). I’ll use it for my commute tomorrow and don’t expect any trouble. I.e. once you get used to switching sizes, it becomes fairly easy to pick up a new uni.
If you want to do commuting on paths and trails and the like, I really think you want at least a 26" with short or dual-hole cranks, and I don’t think you need to be a particularly experienced rider to tackle one - I did it after two weeks on a 20", and it sounds from the above like kamikaze started with one from the beginning.
But Christmas is still months away! What are you going to do between now and then, with the tail end of summer and the nice unicycling weather of fall???
Getting a “good” unicycle for Christmas still makes sense, but in the meantime why not heavily research the used market? You can probably pick up a workable 20"-24" unicycle for relatively little if you are persistent and patient in looking, and then come decision time in November or so you’ll be an experienced unicyclist with perspective as what you want to invest in for a good one to move on to.
btw a KH 20 has a 19" wheel. You have to be a bit careful when buying trials unis and tires. Many imply that they have or are for 20" wheels.
Right now there is a 24 on the trading post for $150, a total steal w/ those specs.
That appears to be some parts for a project, not a complete unicycle, and also located on the wrong continent. More importantly, like most things on the trading post the asking price bears some relation to value, and the value is probably far more than needed for getting the OP trained in basics over the next few months.
What I was personally suggesting was more finding the local items-for-sale classifieds and persistently checking it for low-end but serviceable beginner unicycles cast off by those who bought them and then re-thought the whole idea. It’s quite likely something can be had in the $50 range with a little patience, under the idea that won’t preclude the negotiated “serious” unicycle purchase months down the road. Of course it’s possible that something higher end will show up at a bargain price, in which case the there might need to be some further family negotiation over that instead of a later lesser value-for-money new unicycle purchase.
Also try to link up with local unicycle clubs - unicyclists seem to accumulate unicycles, and occasionally a basement/garage/carport cleaning gets mandated, leading to bunch of rideable (but unridden in years) unis hitting the market at “hope someone else has a use for this” prices low enough to make shipping impractical.
It’s occurred to me to wonder if a club could accumulate a collection of working cast-off 20"/24" unis and offer them to prospective learners under some sort of “buy this for x and take it home to practice, knowing if you decide during the next six months its not for you (or that it is and you want to trade up) we’ll buy it back from you for 3/4 of that”
i didn’t see the UK. Only saw that there was no city below his avatar.
Still a good deal. Add a frame, tire, pedals, seat and post and your ready to go. Shipping might be an issue.
That’s one of the beauties of unis. Not a ton of parts to try to figure out how they are put together or special tools needed (compared to bikes).
Where in the UK are you Lonewolf? You could see if there are other riders nearby willing to let you try their unis to see what feels best. Though in all honesty when you get ‘hooked’ you’re likely to want one of each size. I like my Nimbus 2 24" but would recommend a slick tyre rather than the standard Duro for learning.
Thanks for all the advice guys. I’m in South Wales in the UK.